Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/511

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479
AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

tions, including catcher, in the season of '76. In one or two games in which he caught behind the bat he had been hit by foul tips and had become more or less timid.

"He was, by all odds, the most available man as catcher for the season of '77, and it was up to me to find some way to bring back his confidence.

"The fencing mask naturally gave me the hint as to the protection for the face, and then it was up to me to devise some means of having the impact of the blow kept from driving the mask onto the face. The forehead and chin rest accomplished this and also made it possible for me to secure a patent, which I did in the winter of 1878.

"Tyng practiced catching with the mask, behind the bat, in the gymnasium during the winter of '77, and became so thoroughly proficient that foul tips had no further terrors for him.

"The first match game in which the mask was used was on Fast Day, in Lynn, against the Live Oaks, in April, 1877. Thereafter the Harvard catcher used it in all games.

"I hope this will give you the data which you wish. At all events it gives you the real facts in regard to the Base Ball mask.

"Yours faithfully,

(Signed) "Fred W. Thayer."

In a communication from Mr. George Wright, the famous old-time ball player, bearing date Boston, May 17. 1911, he says:

"The first time I saw the mask and it being used was by Tyng, when catching in a game on the Harvard nine in 1877. What game it was I cannot remember. But that fall Mr. Thayer, by appointment, brought the mask to my store on Eliot street. Harry Schafer, being there, put it on, when we threw several balls at it, which glanced off, he not feeling any jar or effect from them. We pronounced it a success and decided it would come into general use. I made arrangements at the time with Mr. Thayer to patent the mask, control the sale of it, and pay him a royalty, and, as you know, after the above date the mask gradually came into general use. Who the first professional player was to use it I cannot say. The mask was patented 1878."

To Roger Bresnahan, manager of the St. Louis Nationals, belongs the credit of the recent introduction of shinguards for the catcher.

When sliding, as an aid to the base runner, began, I